Most everyone has heard smoking can be hazardous to your health, but a new University of Iowa study finds heavy cigarette smokers may be shortening their lives by a decade or more. Researcher Dr. Toru Nyunoya, a U-of-I professor of internal medicine, says they’ve made a connection between premature aging and smoking.
"Smoking can accelerate the aging process and shorten the lifespan by an average of more than ten years," Dr. Nyunoya says. The research finds a link between a rare, hereditary premature aging disease and cell damage that comes from smoking. A key protein that is lost in Werner’s syndrome is also decreased in smokers with emphysema, and this decrease harms lung cells that normally heal wounds.
Nyunoya says you can see it on many smokers’ faces — they look older than their years. He says, "As appearance, you can see skin wrinkling and most people die commonly with arterioscleroisis disease, coronary artery disease, stroke or also cancer." The findings appear in the February 6th issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.